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More Canadian Travel Restrictions

The Government of Canada has announced additional restrictions on international travel, further complicating the existing multi-layered rules on Covid-19 era travel.

Effective midnight (11:59 PM EST) February 3, 2021, in addition to proof of a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test, Transport Canada will again expand existing international flight restrictions (which, inter alia, funnel scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian airports (Montréal-Trudeau International, Toronto Pearson International, Calgary International, and Vancouver International Airport). As per the newest restrictions:

  1. Commercial passenger arriving on flights from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, which were previously exempt, will be required to follow all Covid-19 travel requirements.

  2. Private and charter flights from all countries will be required to land at one of the four airports listed above. Only flights from Saint-Pierre-et Miquelon and cargo-only flights remain exempt.

  3. The Government of Canada will introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement (molecular test) for travellers seeking entry in land mode, with limited exceptions.

  4. At a dated yet to be determined, air travellers, with very limited exceptions, must reserve a room in a Government of Canada-approved hotel for three (3) nights at their own cost, and take a Covid-19 molecular test on arrival at their own cost. Details have yet to be released.

  5. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will engage security companies to complete compliance checks on travellers arriving in Canada to ensure awareness of, and compliance with, quarantine requirements.

  6. Authorized under the Quarantine Act, Screening Officers will visit travellers' quarantine locations to confirm that travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified upon entry into Canada. Screening Officers will have the capacity to conduct visits in 35 cities across the country, starting in Montréal and Toronto.

  7. The Government and Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, 2021. This went into effect on January 31, 2021.

After a barrage of embarrassing stories in the media about public officials that vacationed in sunny destinations over the holidays, the newest travel restrictions are clearly designed to discourage all unnecessary travel. With only an estimated two (2) percent of Covid-19 cases originating from outside Canada it appears that the strict new measures have been designed to prevent the further introduction of new Covid-19 strains or variants to Canada.

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This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.


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